DT 28689 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28689 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28689 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

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Greetings to all our Irish friends on St Patrick’s Day – let’s hope the England Rugby team are less generous later today! [Well,at least Spurs won, so the day wasn’t a total disaster.]

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them. Although I try to select the clues I expect to cause the most difficulty, feel free to ask for help on any others – but please read the instructions in red at the end of this post.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Snake and rodent let out by river (7)
To get this snake, combine a three-letter rodent, an anagram (out) of LET and R(iver)

9a    Clothes primarily large? Admit one could be in a big top (5)
The initial letter (primarily) of C[lothes] is followed by L(arge) and a verb meaning to admit or confess (usually, as a phrasal verb, followed by up)

11a    Shame about our pal cavorting to get approval (10)
A four-letter word meaning shame around an anagram (cavorting) of OUR PAL

14a    Orders stir unions to get agitated outside court (12)
An anagram (to get agitated) of STIR UNIONS around the abbreviation for C(our)T

18a    Poorly American with temperature getting fixed portion of food, for example (12)
A three-letter adjective meaning poorly or unwell is followed by a two-letter abbreviation for American, T(emperature) and a fixed portion

22a    General‘s vast banquet (10)
An adjective meaning vast is followed by a banquet

26a    Competition finally reduced by 50 per cent (5)
Drop the second half (reduced by 50 per cent) of a ten-letter word meaning finally

28a    Slim model’s rear shown in poster (7)
Put the final letter (rear) of [mode]L inside someone who posts a letter


1d    About to go over impressive lifting procedure used in the kitchen (6)
One of our usual two-letter words for about is followed by the reversal (lifting in a down clue) of an adjective meaning impressive

3d    Isolation unit needed in outbreak of illness (10)
A three-letter word for unit inside an anagram (outbreak) of ILLNESS

5d    Fabricate hamper — university needs to replace one (9)
Start with a verb meaning to hamper or impede and insert U(niversity) instead of I (one)

7d    Leaving out nothing on assignment (8)
O (nothing) followed by an assignment (could it be an impossible one?)

13d    He tampers with circulation to keep oxygen in air (10)
An anagram (with circulation) of HE TAMPERS around (to keep) the chemical symbol for Oxygen

16d    Tree — do we set up shelters over bits chopped up? (8)
A coniferous tree is followed by the reversal (set up in a down clue) of DO WE around (shelters) O(ver)

17d    Smears — they’re often seen on children’s knees (8)
As a noun these can often be seen on the knees of children

20d    One polishing rag? (6)
A cryptic definition of this newspaper person

24d    Pretty good trade show (4)
As soon as you realise that this is a double definition, or perhaps even a triple definition, it becomes very easy to solve

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

The Quick Crossword pun: whirled+Waugh=World War

64 comments on “DT 28689 (Hints)

  1. For me, a curate’s egg completed at a fast canter – **/**.

    I would like to comment on some of the clues, but, as it’s Saturday, I will sit on my hands and, with NTSPP in hand, get ready to watch a North London team in South Wales.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 18a and 21a.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  2. It took me a while to get going with this s one. Once I had got a foothold, largely through the long anagrams, it all fell nicely into place. 2d and 20d were my co-favourites, and overall this fairly testing but sarptisfying puzzle was 3* /3.5* for me.

    Thanks to the Saturday setter and BD..

  3. First read through across clues had nil return until reaching 27a but then with help of several downs all went swimmingly and overall it was quite 21a which was joint Fav together with 22a and 20d. Stupidly failed to parse 5d. Top fell before bottom. Liked the quadruple synonyms in 6d. Thank you Mysteron and BD. Come on England!

  4. I thought this was pretty good by Saturday Prize standards – a reasonable challenge, mostly fine clues and enjoyable enough. My favourite was 20d, but I did initially get into a right (and completely daft) pickle with it. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 2.5* / 3.5*

    1. Probably some people did, but unfortunately as it is a Prize Puzzle and you can’t mention alternative solutions in your comment you (and they?) will have to tie a knot in your hanky to remind you to come back and comment about it when my review appears on Friday morning.

      1. Sorry, at the time I didn’t think my comment contravened the rules. So, fair enough. I have knotted me hanky!

      2. Interest piqued, hanky knotted to see if Jose remembers what the knot in his hanky is for.

        1. I’ve got that covered – I’ve put another knot in my hanky to remind me what the first one is for, in case I forget! :-)

  5. All present and correct despite a brief flirtation with the wrong General and almost falling for the misdirection in 28a.

    Favourite was 15d with a nod to 22a.

    Thanks to Mr Saturday Ron and to BD for the club.

      1. Can’t remember but it was probably along the lines of it getting you nowhere except into trouble!

  6. This was a puzzle of two very distinct halves for me. Top top half went in with absolutely no problems whatsoever and then the bottom half probably took double the time if not more. The bottom left fell first and then I was forced to get out the pen and paper (and the Thesaurus) for the bottom right. Was completely fooled by the misdirection in 20d so that was my last one in and favourite.

    Initially bunged in a wrong answer for 17d even though I wasn’t completely satisfied with it, but got there in the end.

    Thoroughly enjoyable as always. Very many thanks to all.

  7. The two that stood out for me were of a kind. 2d and 12a.
    No real hold ups unlike Vlad in the Graun.
    It’s my birthday today. Weather is beautiful. The Irish are going to tonk the Brits and the French the Welsh. What more can I hope for. Ah yes. Scottish Widows are going to start looking after me once I sort out my tax situation.
    Always dreamt to retire at 55. Don’t think that’s going to be the case.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the Saturday Club.

    1. Félicitations Jean-Luc 🍷🎂. You are fortunate to have beautiful weather; we are in midst of sleet/snow.

    2. Bon anniversaire Jean-Luc – Mr CS and I just shared a bottle of cider with our lunch and raised a toast to anyone whose birthday it is today – and now we know it was you. Enjoy your day :rose:

    3. Happy Birthday Jean Luc
      Live long and prosper as Spock might say in a different Star Trek franchise.🖖

  8. I’ll have to confess my guilt – I’ve struggled with this puzzle. If nothing else, it just goes to prove that, after years of completing cryptic crosswords, you can’t become complacent because, sooner of later, along will come a puzzle to trip you up. Having read Jen-Luc’s comment ‘Weather is beautiful.’ it’s perhaps relevant to mention that it’s blowing a blizzard in South Cheshire at the moment…

    1. I completely agree Aljanon. I did the wrong anagram in 10a which messed me up completely as the down clues I knew didn’t fit.
      It is snowing a blizzard on and off in cosy Thanet, but, like this, nothing is settling. Great crossword though.

  9. My rating is 2* / 3* for a straightforward, pleasant puzzle. I got held up a bit in the SE corner by putting in a plausible wrong answer for 20d which made 22a impossible, but I eventually saw the error of my ways.

    Many thanks to setter and to BD.

    1. I did exactly the same thing for 20d RD! Bet we both put in the same wrong answer which made the ending of 22a very confusing

    2. See Jose’s comment @4 above – but don’t discuss it any further until you and your knotted hankies turn up on Friday

  10. All completed in reasonable *** time, but I did struggle in the SE. As soon as I read 13d, I knew it was going to be my COTD, even if I didn’t solve it without looking at the hint!

    Many thanks to the setter and BD.

  11. Smooth sailing today, brain seems back in its proper place at last :) [**`/****]
    I particularly enjoyed the pair (or triplet?) of 6d and 24d.
    Thanks to the setter and BD!

  12. Like others, I initially put the wrong answer into 20d. Although it was a very acceptable answer, it did give me an unusual ending for 22a, which gave a bit of head scratching until I sorted it all out. Thank you setter and BD

  13. A great Saturday puzzle with two tripple-defs. 4 anagrams plus one partial got the show on the road whilst watching the Scots struggle against pasta-power. Best in show for me were 13d, 28a, 5d with last in being 22a and 20d which has to be my favourite today. Wow, Scotland have just taken the lead surprisingly. Crank up the bagpipes.
    Thanks to setter and BD . **/***-****

  14. As per Margaret’s solving experience, I found the top part flew in and the bottom part dragged its heels a bit.

    Enjoyable diversion from the dismal weather here in Kent.

    Thanks to BD and setter **/***

  15. An enjoyable solve which I checked against the invaluable hints before submitting. Apart from 1d, which I came back to, the top half went in quite quickly. Had to think a bit more for the bottom half. Last in and favourite was 20d. Too cold to wash the car, tidy up the garden or go for a walk. I have a presentation to do for next Thursday so I might do that.

  16. Did find that a bit of a struggle partticularly in the south. 19d LOI and 22a/8d joint favourite. 20d was a bit of a stretch and I either have 6d wrong or the last word of the clue is redundant. Thanks to BD and setter.

  17. **/***. Quick solve apart from the SE corner which in retrospect didn’t seem difficult but it was time consuming. My favourites were 18a and 23d – I actually groaned when I got the latter. Thanks to the setter and BD.

  18. I found this a huge struggle, never did finish. I am so far off wavelength I question whether my solving abilities maybe on the wane. Let’s see if Virgilius can restore my faith in myself.
    Thanks to setter and to BD for helping me to solve at least a few more.

  19. I really struggled with this and did not help myself by misspelling a couple of words but did get there in the end once I had corrected the errors. Age is not helping my eyesight and spotting problems is not easy. Thanks to setter and BD.
    Have to own up to ginormous amount of electronic help.

  20. I was the opposite of Margaret and Jon P – I filled in most of the bottom half fairly quickly but the top half is not cooperating. Clearly I am not on Mr Ron’s wavelength and doubt I will get much further with this today. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

  21. It took me a while to get started and things didn’t improve thereafter! However I finally completed with the general at 22a being my favourite.
    2/3.5* overall.
    Thanks to the setter, and to BD for the generous hints.

  22. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. I enjoyed this, but found it very tricky. Did the top half first, then really struggled with the bottom half. Had a wrong answer for 20d, also needed the hints for 22a. Couldn’t believe I failed to get the first 3 letters of 19d. Favourite was 8d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  23. I can be very thick at times. I had the wrong answer for 20D for the longest time, which sent me off on a wild goose chase for 22A. Took a break and took another look and all became clear. No real favorites today. Thanks to BD and the setter. Haven’t looked at the NTSPP yet.

  24. That put up a bit of a fight ! very enjoyable.
    I am so pleased the Irish won , not that I am pleased the English lost , but , you know , on the day that’s in it . Rugby is a religion here , for some .Not for me , particularly , but I know many for whom it is.
    Thanks for some much needed hints and thanks to the setter.

  25. Top half fine, bottom half a grind. Not the most enjoyable of the week.
    Thanks BD and Mr.Ron.

  26. Most unusually for me, no help needed on this one; suppose it must be a single* for difficulty,
    Favourite was 24D, though not certain why “trade” was needed, Single-cryptic clues (however droll in retrospect) leave me cold; so resisted inserting 20D until sufficient letters in place – good thing too!

    Kudos to the Irish, and thanks to the setter for a quick fix – just as well, as it was too cold to walk as far as the park.

  27. Good puzzle I think although slow to start. SE only real problem due to my stupidity for putting in the wrong ending for 25a. Once that corrected 23d became possible. Had 20d in my head for a long time but dare not put in until I had the first checker down. Then got 26a and last one in 19d. That is stupid in hindsight as so simple but I was thinking of two different types of bank. Managed to parse all after finally spotting the reverse lurker. Thanks setter and BD although no hints needed. Can’t reduce favourites beyond 11 18 21 and 22a and 2 3 5 and 17d.

  28. I enjoyed this. Slow burner to start with then the pace accelerated towards the end. ***/*****. I liked 1d, 16d, 17d with 20d being my clear favourite.

  29. It has to be me, as no hint for 19d and several comments on how simple it is…My last one and although I have run through all (?) the alternatives I still can’t see it!
    Not happy with the rugby results, but have to say, the Irish deserved the 6 Nation GS win.
    Felt sorry for the Azzuris though….
    I will come back later !

      1. Having already reduced the options to six words, shortly afterwards I came to the ‘solution’ but was somewhat disappointed with the parsing, but that’s the way it is!
        Thanks for response!

  30. Put in the wrong answer for 19d which prevented me from getting 26a. Needed a hint for 20d. Thanks BD.

  31. Finished today without help from hints (unusual for us) but unsure of 2d.We have an answer that fits but can’t work out the cryptic. Note ‘we’ is joint effort beween A&C Ross….Shame about the rugby but it does keep the tournament alive.

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